Phoenix Wright: Release History

After the completion of Metroid Prime 3, I've been really getting into Phoenix Wright 3. I usually play about an hour or two every night, and currently I'm on the second investigation part on the third (out of four) cases. It's kinda fun, but it certainly does not have the intensity of innovation I experience when I played the first Phoenix Wright.

Release History

Let's explore the releases of Phoenix Wright to further understand the lineage of the series.

Phoenix Wright was first released for the Nintendo DS, here in the US on October 12th, 2005; however, the DS versions of Phoenix Wright, or Gyakuten Saiban are actually remakes of the Gameboy Advance games. Gyakuten Saiban 1 was first released 4 years prior on the same date for the GBA.

10/12/01 - Gyakuten Saiban - 58,877 units sold

It's release did not do so well, but that didn't stop Capcom from making a sequel. Just one year later, Gyakuten Saiban 2 was released. Of course, Gyakuten Saiban 2 was the exact same game, but with different music, different stories, and some new characters ^_^. Capcom re-released the first title on the same day at a budget price to increase sales for the series overall.

10/18/02 - Gyakuten Saiban (Best Price) - 129,630 units sold
10/18/02 - Gyakuten Saiban 2 - 176,953 units sold

Which, worked fairly damn well. All those that missed Phoenix Wright the first time around, easily picked up both titles now that the first one was a mere $30. Capcom LOVES to make billions of sequels, so it comes to no surprise that they did the exact same thing the year after.

12/19/03 - Gyakuten Saiban 2 (Best Price) - 101,388 units sold
01/23/04 - Gyakuten Saiban 3 - 173,336 units sold

Actually, after playing PW3, it's rather hard to picture it selling 173k units. The IP seemed pretty strong. Sure it wasn't moving a million units, but nearly 200k units is pretty good for Japan sales.

I'm not really sure what happened at this point.. But Gyakuten Saiban 4 did not follow the next year. Perhaps something happens at the end of the third game that simply can't allow for a 4th game with Phoenix Wright.. As October came up, they released PW3 at a budget price.

10/01/04 - Gyakuten Saiban 3 (Best Price) - 68,181 units sold

But, with no new game to push sales of the old game.. it did nearly as well as the series debut. Fall of 2004 saw a shift in Handheld gaming though.. This was the time where the Nintendo DS was released. Capcom decided to hop on the DS craze by porting over their slight successful game series.

09/15/05 - Gyakuten Saiban - 128,842 units sold
10/12/05 - Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - ~100,000 units sold

The 5th year of Gyakuten Saiban, brought forth the DS version of the game with slightly better graphics and a NEW DS only case after you beat the game. Original fans of the series flocked to the new level, whereas new adopters of the series fell in love with Phoenix Wright for the first time.

Over here in the US, the game sold poorly thanks to poor marketing and very few units shipped. It wasn't until Spring of 2006 rolled around and people had huge difficulty finding the game, that Capcom realized it was their fault for the poor sales. They re-release the US version a couple times, while over in Japan, they released the game at a budget to pull more people into the series.

06/15/06 - Gyakuten Saiban (Best Price) - 149,552 unit sold

Now, I don't know if the original DS release had this, but this budget release just so happened to include the full English version of the game. Gamers in the US helped add to these sales since they could not find a US copy. Sales were also very high due to the release of the DS Lite which happened 2 months prior.

A couple months later saw the revamp and release of the Second title.

10/26/06 - Gyakuten Saiban 2 (Best Price) - 111,485 units sold
01/16/07 - Phoenix Wright 2: Justice for All - 90,000 units sold

The Japanese release started right off as a budget title, which makes complete sense as it lacked a DS only chapter. The Japanese release also contained the full English version of the game, which can account for lack-luster US sales. Die-hard US Phoenix Wright fans simply imported the game to play it months ahead of time.

Along with the Japanese release, began the promotional support for the long-awaited release of Gyakuten Saiban 4. A new original game for the series that contained all new characters, and all chapters which used all capabilities of the DS, and in April of 2007.. fans finally got their game.

04/12/07 - Gyakuten Saiban 4 - 487,000 units sold

Gyakuten Saiban 4 was hands-down, the fastest selling title of the series. In fact, in its first week it sold more copies than any single version of a previous game. Thanks to all these crazy previous releases, fans knew what was coming for the series. DS chapters much like that extra chapter in the first game.

Gyakuten Saiban 4 was such a success, that a few weeks later, Capcom simply blurting out that Gyakuten Saiban 5 would happen.

Unfortunately, for US fans of the series, Gyakuten Saiban 4 does not contain the English version, so we must wait for the US release, or perhaps it'll be included on its' budget release.

Anyways, just 2 weeks away, Capcom finally released Gyakuten Saiban 3, and fans of the series who missed it the first time, can finally see how Phoenix Wright's saga ends.

08/23/07 - Gyakuten Saiban 3 (Best Price) - 77,000 (so far)

Not too far off, Phoenix Wright 3 will be hitting the states.

10/23/07 - Phoenix Wright 3: Trials and Tribulations

Capcom is currently holding the 3rd game over the heads of us US fans of the series.. "If you want Phoenix Wright 4, you'll have to buy Phoenix Wright 3. If sales are good, it's a go!" Though, they are already planning on bringing it over as Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney.

Honestly, I cannot wait for Apollo Justice.. So much so, that i'll actually play through Phoenix Wright 3 ^_^

Total Sales

So, let's tabulate all the current sales and see how the individual games actually stack up against each other.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (5 versions) - ~566,901 worldwide
Phoenix Wright: Justice for All (4 versions) - ~479,826 worldwide
Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations (3 versions) - 318,517 japan only, so far
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (1 version) - 487,000 japan only

I'd imagine sales for Apollo Justice eventually overtaking the original game, no problem.

Update: By the way, I should really mention that I acquired this data from Cubed3 who found it from the Neo-GAF post I originally saw it in, which happens to be 4 months out of date, and also from which is almost never accurate.

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